What It Takes to Break Into the Pro Ranks
From a Team Director's Perspective
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Cycling is divided up into multiple racing categories that are designed to create a competitive arena for a wide range of talents, time commitments and age. There is a home for just about everyone who enjoys racing a bike. Professional cycling is quite different though, as only a select few ever reach that level. There are a limited number of pro teams making the competition quite intense for the limited number of spots. Every year there are dozens of athletes hoping to get their big “break." One good thing about racing in the US is that professional competition is quite accessible since Category 1 and 2 riders often race against the pros. To many aspiring riders, how to go about maximizing your chances of breaking into the pro ranks is not too clear. Hopefully I can provide a bit of insight as to what it takes.
Some time ago in the wind tunnel here in San Diego, I tried to quantify how much riding the tip of the saddle would cost me aerodynamically while holding everything else constant.
The results don't look so good for the "tippers" out there:
Words and Images by Kraig Willett
In 2002 I bought a used SRM Pro powermeter. I’ve had the crank battery replaced once in the past 9 years (less than 20,000 km). Since day one, the powercontrol (the head unit) battery has been a bit problematic. First of all, the display that supposedly shows how much battery life was remaining was unreliable. For example, the PCV display might have said that I had 25 of 29 hours left on the charge, but inevitably, it would run out after only a few hours. Secondly, and probably related to what is mentioned above, is that the battery just wouldn’t hold a charge for very long.
Words and Images by: Kirk Willett
“Base” is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as a fundamental principle or underlying concept of a system or theory. Cycling performance does indeed have such a base, though its popular definition in cycling circles has blurred the concept by focusing on large volumes of lower powered riding. The performance-rooted cycling definition of base is simply power at “threshold”. Power at “threshold” has many definitions, but I define it as 20 minute mean maximal power or 20MP.
2011 Cycling Power Meter Review
words and images by: Kraig Willett
1992 was the year I started racing my bike. During my failed attempts at living the awe-inspiring and lucrative dream of a domestic US professional bike racer, I had a few good race results – well, maybe only two, but who’s counting! There were some key things, for me, which allowed the achievement of most of my modest goals along the way. The most important key was simply having the discipline and desire to ride my bike - a lot. The second ingredient was having a good coach to nudge me in the right direction and tailor my training program specifically to my needs. It didn’t hurt that my coach was also my brother (former Prime Alliance Director Sportif, Kirk Willett) and wintertime training partner for the better part of the 90’s. There’s no motivation like having your coach call you up to schedule the daily ride when there’s twelve inches of snow on the ground and the mercury is hovering below zero.